The Origin Myths and Upheavals Courtesy: LTWA

The Divine monkey mated with the mountain ogress to produce the first Tibetans

The Tethys Sea was lifted up to become the Roof of the World What is a Nation? The Romans called ‘natio’, a race or a human group with a common ‘birth’. Today, the dictionary says that it is “a body of people who share a real or imagined common history, culture, language or ethnic origin, who typically inhabit a particular country or territory”. This is the case for .

Tibetans have an ‘imagined common history’, they descend from a male monkey, an incarnation of Avalokitesvara who married a mountain ogress. Their six offspring were the first Tibetans. The inhabitants of the are said to have the characteristics of both their ancestors. Except for the divine origin in the Tibetan legend, the modern Theory of Evolution is A supine ogress is said to have tamed Tibet’s soil not too different. by lying on her back to make it habitable

As the supercontinent Gondwanaland broke up 100 million years ago, separated from Africa. The Indian plate moved north and one day collided with the Asian plate. In the process the Tethys Sea was elevated to 5000 m. The Tibetan plateau was born. Eurasian plate India

10 millions years ago

A Tibetan legend speaks of a Tibet covered by a giant lake The Indian continent 38 milions collided with Asia years ago

55 millions which dried up. The remaining lakes were prophesized to years ago Indian Ocean 71 millions years ago progressively shrink and give space to humans to live and India practice their religion. Sri Lanka

The most awesome mountains of the planet

The Roof of the World emerged millions years ago The First Steps

Archeology of Tibet © John Belleazza

Pre-Buddhist pillar, probably at a burial site (near Lake Dangra) Courtesy Songtsen Library Library Songtsen Courtesy

Map of archeological sites in Tibet

Archeological study of the Tibetan plateau is a relatively new

discipline. Though explorers such as Tucci, Hedin, Richardson or Cutting tools (later Paleolithic) Roerich did the first archeological surveys at the beginning of the Library Songtsen Courtesy 20th century, their studies remained superficial. The scenario has changed during the past 2 or 3 decades with more scientific studies being conducted by Tibetan, Western and

Chinese archeologists. Their research dwells not only upon Two pronged stone hoe found in

Western Tibet, rich in ‘pre-Buddhist’ vestiges, but also on other Library Songtsen Courtesy parts of the plateau, like and .

Stone chisel Plan of a semi-buried house in Kharo (mid Stone Age) near Chamdo, probably 4000 years old Black pottery (mid Neolithic/Chamdo) The latest archeological discoveries open new perspectives on the history of the plateau, particularly regarding the kingdom. Some archeologists believed that a climate change altered the balance of power a few millennia ago. Due to drought and the subsequent increased salinity in the areas around the large lakes of Belleazza Northern Tibet, the political center may have progressively shifted John Wild ungulate thokchas © (copper alloy talismans) to warmer and moister regions like Yarlung. © John Belleazza

Pottery with handles (early Metal Age/Chamdo)

Stone corbelled residence of a Zhangzhung sage (on Lake Darok island) Long necked pottery

© John Belleazza (mid Neololitic/ Chamdo)

Pillars probably in a pre-Buddhist cemetery (Rokhung) The Pugyal Dynasty The Kings of Yarlung

Nyatri Tsanpo Tibetan Children Village Children Tibetan

Representations of the legend of the First King

Yumbulagang Palace in

Legend says that in 127 BCE, the inhabitants of Yarlung Valley elevated Nyatri Tsanpo as the first king of Pugyal (or Yarlung) Dynasty. Nyatri, the story continues, descended as a god-like being from the sky using a ‘sky-rope.’ When he Protective Armor used landed, he met some herdsmen grazing their ; they took by the first Kings him on their shoulders and made him king. The seven first kings are said to have used a rope to leave this world after their death. They have left no tombs. The first kings followed the faith; appeared only during the reign of Thori Nyatsen (5th century AD). Once again, it came from the sky. A casket containing the Helmet and Arrows of Avalokiteshvara, Tibet’s Patron fell on Yumbulagang, the royal Palace. Though the king was unable to read the scripts, he kept the casket as a Holy Relic. More prosaically, historical research on the relations between the neighbouring kingdom of Zhangzhung and the is still in its infancy. The hypothesis of the existence of a script has not yet been elucidated.

Mounds of the tombs of the Kings Google map of Yarlung Valley in Chongye, Yarlung Valley

Little is known of the relations between Yarlung and (here ) The Bon Religion A First Unifying Factor

Tonpa Sherab Miwoche founder of the Bon Faith Bon followers worshipped lakes and mountains. Here the sacred Yarlha Sampho peaks

Bon is considered the native faith of Tibet which has survived till the present day. For some, Bon is only a body of folk beliefs such as divination, propitiations, offerings, curses; for others, Bon is seen as a more complex religious system with priests called Bonpo, who are believed to have supernatural powers. For still others, Bon is a belief system which matured in the 11th century; this 'organized Bon' has Bon monuments are often found near lakes characteristics closely resembling .

Some scholars divide the history of Bon into three periods. First, the pre-Buddhist era where Bon was a folk religion; the second period was characterized by the emergence of an organized priesthood and a more sophisticated doctrine. It was during this period that the Bon establishment confronted, often violently, Buddhism. The third stage took place after Buddhism became the State religion. Adherents of Bon had to assimilate Sherab Gyaltsen, the founder several Buddhist features to ensure their survival. In turn of the Menri monastery Buddhism was deeply influenced by Bon. in the 15th century

Early Bon was closely linked with the Kingdom of Zhangzhung and later with the Yarlung Dynasty. Future research on

Zhangzhung may shed more light on the historical relationship © John Bellezza with other Himalayan beliefs and civilizations. Maryig scripts used by the Bonpos

Bonpo priest Rock engraving

Bonpo yogis are known for their practice of the Great Perfection

The legend of the first Tibetans according to the Bonpos is similar to the Buddhist one. Which one inspired the other?

Nangshig Bon monastery in Northeastern Tibet A Great Military The Three Religious Kings

Inner Turfan 809 Kara-Shahr 670-692 Kucha Xi Xia 791-866 Fergana 715 Lop Nor Dunhuang Taklamakan

665 Kokonor Ordos 786-87 Khotan Shan-Shan Pingliang Kunlun Brusha Chiang 758 737 781-87-848 763 Xian Leh Suvarnagotra670 Minyak Shangshung 637/38-663 Amritsar Kyong Karo Dzong 644 703 King , 754 the 33rd King (605-649)

Yarlung Delhi LijiangNanzhao


Bodhgaya 779 Wikipedia map The extended to the Chinese capital Chang'an (modern Xian) in the East, to Turfan in the North, to the Pamirs and Samarkhand in the West and the Gangetic plain in the South. Maps speak for themselves

King , the King , the 37th King (755-797) 41st King (806-838)

Courtesy Norbulinka Institute Norbulinka Courtesy

Songtsen Gampo built the greatest Empire of his time in Asia. During his reign, the capital was moved from Yarlung to Lhasa. A fort was built where the stands today. The King was the first to understand the necessity of a balanced policy between Tibet’s neighbours: it is probably why he married several royal princesses. Under subsequent kings, especially Trisong Detsen, the Second Religious King, the Tibetan Empire continued to expand. In 783 Courtesy Tibetan Courtesy Tibetan Village Children AD, a treaty was concluded which established the borders between Tibet and . In 821 AD, during the reign of Ralpachen, the Third Religious King, a peace agreement was signed between Tibet and China. The terms of the Treaty were engraved on three stone pillars: one demarcates the border between China and Tibet, the second is in

Armor and costumes of the Cathedral in Lhasa and the third in Chang'an in China. © Pitt Rivers Museum the Religious Kings’ period

The 821 AD Treaty reads: “Tibet and China shall abide

© Pitt Rivers Museum Rivers © Pitt by the frontiers of which they are now in occupation. All to the east is the country of Great China; and all to the west is, without question, the country of Great Tibet... Between the two countries no smoke nor dust shall be The 783 AD Treaty between seen. There shall be no sudden alarms and the very word Tibet and China on a pillar 'enemy' shall not be spoken. …This solemn agreement at the foot of the Potala has established a great epoch when Tibetans shall be happy in the land of Tibet, and Chinese in the land of China.” The 821 AD Treaty on the Jokhang Pillar

Details of the Shol Potala Pillar The Light comes from India Buddhism takes root in Tibet

Bhrikuti, the Nepalese wife of Songtsen Gampo

Statue of Buddha brought a painting of Nicholas Roerinch from by Wen Cheng, in Jokhang Wen Cheng, the Chinese Cathedral in Lhasa wife of Songtsen Gampo

The Buddha began shining over Tibet

After marrying a Nepalese and a Chinese Princess, King Songtsen Gampo converted to Buddhism. These two marriages played a crucial role in the spread of the new faith in Tibet. More than hundred years later, King Trisong Detsen invited Shantarakshita, the Abbot of to teach the Buddha Dharma and ordain the first monks. Shantarakshita immediately faced serious difficulties due to the strong opposition from the indigenous

Bon. He convinced the king that theth only way out was to invite the Tantric Master, Guru ; he alone could subdue the forces adverse to Buddhism. Shantarakshita predicted that a dispute would arise between the two , the Indian and the Chinese. The issue was sorted out through the famous Debate. After 2 years of intense discussion, the Indian path prevailed and a proclamation was Pillar erected by Trisong Detsen in Samye. issued stating that the Indian path was thereafter the orthodox faith. Buddhism became the State religion Buddhist precepts were progressively incorporated into the laws of the Land of Snows. It was the first steps towards the transformation of the warlike Tibetans into people turned towards inner research. The Red Palace built by Songtsen Gampo where the Potala stands today Courtesy Tibet Courtesy Tibet Museum

Nalanda Abbot First Tibetan monastery built in Samye by Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita Shantarakshita in 779 AD. A debate was held between 792 and 794 to decide which school of Buddhism the Land of Snows would follow Padmasambhava the great Guru from Swat A Script from India The Translation Can Start © Library of Tibetan Works & Archives Works Tibetan © Library of

Different types of Tibetan scripts

King Songtsen Gampo

Thomi Sambhota

Ancient Denlung Scripts One of the greatest merits of King Songsen Gampo was to have sent his Minister Thomi Sambhota with sixteen students to India to study Buddhism, and the Art of writing. On his return to Tibet, a , deriving from the Ancient Sanskrit manuscript found in Tibet Gupta alphabet was created. This script is still in use today. The translation of the first Buddhist scriptures could start. Some Bon scholars believed that a Zhangzhung script predated the present Tibetan script. But no archeological evidence (on pillar, rock, etc) has been found so far. Old manuscripts in library in Tibet © National Museum of India © National

Tibetan scripts on a Dunhuang manuscript

Chart prepared by the National Museum, New Delhi

Background photo: Herbert Grammatikopoulos Sowa The of Healing

Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Elder

Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Younger Sanskrit medical Text

The Buddha of Medicine The Tibetan system of Medicine, known as Sowa Rigpa or Art of Healing is a fascinating example of the influence of neighbouring countries on the culture of Tibet. During the reign of King Trisong Detsen, physicians and medical experts from India, China, Central Asia, Persia and even Greece gathered in Samye for a Medical Council to compare their respective knowledge. Thereafter, the great physician Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Elder prepared the first compilation the Gyud Shi or the Four , based on the

Tibetan medical texts prevalent indigenous Tibetan knowledge. However several features from other systems, particularly from the were incorporated. An original and well adapted Tibetan Art of Healing was born.

© Karsti Stiege © Karsti Stiege © Karsti Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Younger, who visited India 6 times during the 12th century, edited the work of Yuthok the Elder to its present form. The 156 chapters of the Gyud Shi are still the essence of Tibetan medical knowledge and continue to be studied, not only in Tibet, but also in the entire Himalayan belt and Mongolia.

Rituals, astrology and divination play an important role in the Art of Healing. Some features originate in the Bon tradition Dr. Dawa Moxas probably have © Karsti Stiege their origin in China

A complete system

Tibetan Art of Healing still practiced in exile

Tibetan medicinal plant

Tibetan surgical instruments Cultural and Religious Renaissance The Second Propagation Google map

The Great Translator Map of the Second Propagation (Francke) Map of in Western Tibet After Lang Darma killed his brother King Ralpachen in 838 AD, Buddhism was eradicated from Tibet. For more than one and a half centuries, the State lost its political homogeneity; it became fragmented into principalities which continuously fought among themselves. But an empire is truly great when the spirit which built it can survive destruction and reappear under a new and more complete form. It is what happened in the Land of Snows. At the end of the 10th century, The Bengali master the old king of Ngari, Lhalama Yeshe Od was instrumental in the revival Atisha Dipankara of Buddhism in Tibet. Young Tibetans were sent to meet saints, yogis and scholars in the great Indian . They brought back original Buddhist scriptures which were translated into Tibetan. The most famous amongst them was Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo.

The great poet and yogi

The ruins of monastery in Western Tibet The spiritual renaissance originated from the Himalayan regions of Spiti, Kinnaur and in India and Ngari and in Tibet: these areas had been spared the Muslim invasions. Many renowned teachers participated in this movement; amongst others, the Indian monk Atisha Dipankara; the Tibetan layman Marpa and his disciple Milarepa. Their lives exemplify the continuous crisscrossing of men and ideas across the and how the Buddha Dharma was preserved in its integrity.

Art in Western Tibet and Ladakh was markedly influenced by India and during the 11th/12th century The Source is Dry The Decline of Buddhism in India

Map of Muslim expansion Ruins of Nalanda incorporated on the sub-continent (1236) several Buddhist tenets into Hinduism while converting many Buddhists. The decline of the Buddhist faith in the Indian subcontinent had incalculable consequences for the Roof of the World. Four factors are usually mentioned to explain this decline: the revival of Hinduism mainly after the conversions undertaken by Adi Shankaracharya; the degeneration of Buddhism; the loss of princely patronage in Northern India. The coup de grâce Mohammed Ghori and came with the arrival of the Turkish armies who his descendants destroyed Nalanda slaughtered monks and destroyed the viharas.

The monasteries of Tibet became the last With the decline of the Pala Dynasty, royal patronage shifted repositories of the ancient wisdom which virtually from Buddhism to Hinduism. disappeared in its land of origin. A Tibetan monk, Dharmasvamin who visited Nalanda in 1235 witnessed only destruction. He could not recover a single manuscript from what was once, one of the richest libraries of the world. He could however meet a 90 year old monk who taught him Sanskrit. When he was warned that the Muslim troops were approaching, he carried his master on his shoulders and hid until the raiders had gone. This image symbolized the end of India’s cultural influence over Tibet.

Some of the Indian artists who migrated to Western Tibet may have painted these exquisite frescoes.

Dharmasvamin (Chag Lotsawa) may have carried his guru between these buildings Priest-Patron Relation A Special Partnership with the

Genghis Khan

Map of the at the beginning of the 13th century

The monastery became Ogedei Khan the main political center in Tibet

Kublai Khan

The took another turn with the rise of the Mongol Empire. At the end of the 12th century, the hordes of overran Europe and Asia. A solution had to be found to defend the integrity of the Tibetan nation from the Mongols for whom the Buddhist concept of love and non-violence was still unknown. ‘Good luck’ came in 1244, when Godan Khan invited a leading Tibetan , Sakya Kunga Gyaltsen to the Mongolian Court to be Kunga Gyalsten the . The relation between the Khans and the of Sakya continued to flourish under who adopted Buddhism as the State religion after Dogon Choegyal Phagpa, Sakya Pandita’s nephew had become the Khan’s teacher. In gratitude, Kublai Khan offered him political authority over Tibet in 1254. Choegyal Phagpa teaching at the Mongol Court The Priest-Patron relationship (orChoe-yon ) developed thus: in exchange for their spiritual advice, the Lamas of Sakya were given temporal authority over Tibet, while getting protection against outside interference. This unique Central Asian institution would later become the corner stone of the relationship between the Dalai Lamas and the Manchu Emperors. The Choe-yon relationship solved the problem faced by the Buddhist State, which could not have survived without the external patronage of a strong military power.

Mongols were great hunters and warriors

The Mongol Khan bids farewell to Choegyal Phagpa First encounter between Kublai Khan and as he leaves for Tibet Choegyal Phagpa at the Mongol Court

Mongols are blessed by the Lama on the way Titles, Decrees and Dharma A Genuine Autonomy? Courtesy ICT

Changchup Gyaltsen, founder of the Phagmodru dynasty As the power of the declined, the princes of Phagmodru challenged the power of the Sakya hierarchs. In 1358, Changchub Gyaltsen marched to Sakya and emerged as Tibet’s new ruler. Map showing Tibet as an independent entity For many Tibetans, this was a golden age; for the first time since the Religious Kings, no foreign ‘protection’ was required. A code of law, similar to the one adopted by the early kings was enforced and the Mongol administrative system was replaced by a purely Tibetan one. In 1368 in China, the Yuan Dynasty collapsed and was replaced by the Mings. Seal in Phagpa scripts given by a Yuan Emperor The Phagmodru princes ruled Tibet for nearly a century, before being replaced by another dynasty, the Rinpung in 1481. From 1565, until the advent of the Fifth in 1642, the princes of Tsang ruled Tibet.

Tibetan rulers sometimes used decrees issued by the Chinese Emperors

The Chinese assert that Tibet has been a part of China since the Yuan Dynasty. Their ‘evidence’ is based on titles bestowed by the Yuans, Mings and Type of seals presented by the Manchus on Tibetan Lamas. The process began Chinese emperors with the Mongol Khans; it flourished during the and continued during the . There is no logic behind this ‘evidence’.

Title conferred by Emperor Yongle to a Tibetan Lama

Emperor Yongle Shakya Yeshe, Tsongkhapa’s disciple was conferred titles and given a black hat by Emperors Yongle and Xuande The Fifth Deshin Shekpa

While in Nanking, the Karmapa performed Letter sent to a Sakya hierarch some special rituals for the Emperor Yongle by the ‘Imperial Tutor’

Background photo: Herbert Grammatikopoulos The Rise of the Yellow Order The First Dalai Lamas

Drontonpa, one of the founders of the Kadampa School Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419)

Lama Tsongkhapa founded the order. Born in Gedun Drupa (1391-1474) the 1st Dalai Lama Amdo province in 1357, he travelled extensively and studied under different masters. Integrating the lineages of the Kadampas with other traditions, his teachings became known as the New Kadampa school or Gelug. While he founded the , his disciple Gedun Drupa, known retrospectively as the First Dalai Lama, built the Drepung and Tashilhunpo monasteries. The Tashilhunpo monastery seat of the Panchen Lamas

Gedun Gyatso was proclaimed the reincarnation of Gedun Drupa. A renowned scholar, he traveled widely to extend the Gelugpa influence. In 1512, he became abbot of the Tashilhunpo and a few years later of Drepung. Like Gedun Drupa, he wielded no political power.

Gedun Gyatso (1475-1542) the 2nd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso was the first to bear the title of ‘Dalai Lama’. Visiting the Lake Kokonor area, The Mongol chieftain he met , the Mongol chieftain in Altan Khan 1578. The Khan bestowed on Sonam Gyatso the title ‘Ocean of Wisdom’ or ‘Dalai’. The Dalai Lama died later preaching in Mongolia. Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588), the 3rd Dalai Lama The birth of Yonten Gyatso in Mongolia as the grandson of Altan Khan, helped to firm up the connection between Mongolia and Tibet. On his return to Tibet, he became a disciple of the Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen who ordained him. However, till his death in 1617, the Drukpa School was still prominent in Tibet.

Yonten Gyatso (1589-1617) the 4th Dalai Lama

Debate in a Gelug monastery The Great Fifth Dalai Lama A Harmonious Blend

Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso was born in 1617, at a time when Tibet was going through a period of turmoil. However, after the Qoshot chieftain, Gushri Bronze of the Fifth Dalai Lama Khan took control over Tibet, the spiritual and political power was The Potala Palace in Lhasa © Pitt Rivers Museum handed over to the young Lama. In 1642, he became the Fifth Dalai Lama.

He ordered the construction of the Potala Former residence of the Dalai Palace on the Red Hill, where King Songtsen Lamas in Ganden monastery

Gampo had built a fort. Though the Potala Jean Lasalle Collection would only be completed after his death, the Dalai Lama used it as his residence. Lhasa became the capital of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, Gushri Khan and Sangye Gyatso In 1652, he went to Beijing to meet the Manchu Emperor Shunzhi. While in the Chinese capital, the Dalai Lama stayed at the Yellow Palace, specially built for

Audience between the Dalai him by the emperor. They are said to have met as equals. Lama and Emperor Shunzhi

The Fifth Dalai Lama, a great scholar versed in Sanskrit, established the , a form of governance characterized by an ‘harmonious blend between the secular and the spiritual’. For the first time since the Religious Kings, Tibet had a centralized form of government. He died in 1682 before the construction of the Potala was completed. His Regent Sangye Gyatso, kept his death secret until its completion.

Illustration of the Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama

Desi Sangye Gyatso also founded Medical text written the Chakpori School of Medicine by The Sixth Dalai Lama On the White Wings

Urgyeling near where the Dalai Lama was educated Footprint of the Dalai Lama in Tsangyang Gyatso was born in 1683 in of Arunachal Pradesh. He was already an adolescent when he was taken to Lhasa to be enthroned by his guru, the Panchen Lama Lobsang Yeshe, as the . Still remembered for his exquisite poetry which has been sung for generations around a fire with a few cups of Tibetan beer , he Tsangyang Gyatso the 6th Dalai Lama is also considered a great tantric master who could appear at different places at the same time.

He consistently refused to take monk vows and preferred the Courtesy Tibetan Village Children pleasures of life, visiting at night the taverns in Shol below the Potala Palace and writing poems. He loved freedom and was suffocating in the darks rooms of the Potala. He felt oppressed in the midst of power struggles between Tibetan aristocrats, Mongol chieftains and the Chinese Emperor.

He is said to have died in 1706 after being kidnapped by the Shol village Qosot Mongols. below the Potala In my Palace, the place of Heaven on Earth

© Pitt Rivers Museum Rivers © Pitt They call me Rigzin Tsangyang Gyaltso But below, in the village of Shol They call me Dangzang Wangpo, The profligate, for my lovers are many.

Lukhang Pavilion where His Secret Biography says that on his way to China, he escaped he often spent time the Mongols and secretly left for Inner Mongolia as a wandering monk. Later he settled in Alashan in Inner Mongolia where he passed away in 1746. He is said to have built several monasteries and had thousands of disciples. His last poem announced his return in Eastern Tibet as the Seventh Dalai Lama: Oh White Crane! Lend me your wings I shall not fly far From Lithang, I shall return

from a painting of Nicholas Roerich from He probably visited these monasteries, saw these dunes in Alashan Troubled Times Two Difficult Centuries

The 7th Dalai Lama Lhazang Khan receiving Mongol and Chinese guests

The 18th and 19th century witnessed one of the most troubled times in Tibet’s history. After the Qosot Mongol chief, Lhazang Khan kidnapped the young Sixth Dalai Lama, he became extremely unpopular. The invasion of the Dzungar in 1717 however saw the end of French map of 1778 showing the ‘Kingdom of the Dalai Lama’ Lhazang Khan’s reign over Tibet. Three years later, the © Pitt Rivers Museum young 7th Dalai Lama entered Lhasa. He was accompanied by Manchu troops; this did not stop the internal strife. In the following years, Miwang Pholanay played a constructive role in reducing the sectarian struggle and ’s residence in Lhasa reorganising the Tibetan administration. In 1793, a 29-Point ‘Regulations for Governance’ of Tibet was promulgated by Emperor Qianlong. It is today cited by Beijing as proof of the Manchus’ control over Tibet. One of the major contentious issues was the role of the . Rev. Huc and Gabet, the two French missionaries who visited Lhasa in 1846 however noted: "The Government of Tibet

Emperor Qianlong resembles that of the Pope and the position portrayed as a Tibetan Lama occupied by the Chinese Ambassadors was the same as that of the Austrian Ambassador at

The Chinese 29-Point Rome." Regulation

The twenty crucial years between the death of a Dalai Lama and his successor assuming power exemplify the fragility of the Tibetan system of governance. It was murmured that the Chinese exploited this weakness as many Dalai Lamas died in their adolescence. The 19th century saw five Dalai Lamas.

Illustration of the Chinese ‘recognition’ of the 9th Dalai Lama

Chinese Amban and party Conflicts with Neighbours Tibet fights its own Wars © Library of Congress© Library In 1788, during the reign of the 8th Dalai Lama, Nepal attacked Tibet over a trivial matter: a wrong currency exchange rate. Southern Tibet was invaded. In 1792, another war erupted and this time the reached . The Manchus, called to the rescue, sent a strong army to repulse the invaders. A treaty was Chinese painting showing the Manchu participation in the signed between the Manchus, the Gurkhas campaign against the Gurkhas and the Tibetans in which the Chinese succeeded in showing Nepal and Tibet as their . Collection Norbulinka Institute Collection Norbulinka

The Shigatse fort was taken during the campain

The treaty was kept in this building in front of the Potala

The Dogra general, Zorawar Singh wanted to conquer © Lancer Publishers Tibet, but in 1841 he was trapped by snow and blizzards on the Tibetan Plateau. More than 3,000 Indian troops perished in a single battle and the general himself was decapitated. Tibetan troops followed the fleeing Dogra troops to Ladakh where they remained until a final agreement was reached between the two parties and a ‘Letter of Agreement’ confirmed the demarcation of the General border between India and Tibet. Zorawar Singh © Bharat Bhawan Kala © LTWA In 1856, another war with Nepal broke out. The Gurkhas occupied again a few Painting of Zorawar Singh’s campaign districts of Southern Tibet. Tibetan 1842 Peace Treaty in monks volunteered to go on the battlefield, Tibetan and Urdu but before they could reach the Tibetan Phonsok Ladakhi Courtesy border, the Nepalese had called for negotiations. Collection Jean Lassale A clause of the Treaty signed in 1856 says that both parties promised to provide “all the assistance that may be in their power, if the troops of any other 'raja' invade the [other] country”. This clause will not be

invoked in 1950. © Pitt Rivers Museum

Watercolor of the Gurkha advance in 1855 in Kyerong (Tibet)

Tibetan and Nepalese seals on the 1856 Treaty A Policy of Isolation The Forbidden Land

“No other land has captured man’s imagination quite like Tibet. Hidden away behind the protecting Himalayas in the heart of Central Asia, guarding the border ruled over by a God-King and inhabited by a people

whose only wheel was the Border guards prayer-wheel, it has long been the stuff of traveler’s dreams.” Peter Hopkirk Explorers faced unbelievable difficulties to discover unexplored areas. from a painting of Nicholas Roerich from

French explorer Alexandra David-Neel, the first foreign woman to reach Lhasa in 1924

Explorers dreamt of discovering a Shangrila During the 19th and the first part of 20th century, Tibet witnessed the greatest thriller in the history of Asia: the Great Game. Great fought an undeclared war on the tracts of Central Asia to bring under their suzerainty large expanses of unexplored territories. The Game was simple, send some adventurers or small armies to these remote regions, annex them, force some treaties on them and assure the natives of your protection while trading local goods against ‘modern’ commodities. An essential part of the game was to take along cartographers and missionaries who helped establishing control over these ‘uncivilized’ regions. French explorer Dutreuil de Rhins attacked by bandits in Eastern Tibet These intrepid travelers were not just explorers, professional soldiers, diplomats or mountaineers, some had an intelligence mission to accomplish, primarily to bring back maps and information on these uncharted places.

Map prepared by Western missionaries (1902) The Goloks were one of the most ferocious tribes on the marches of Tibet The Younghusband Expedition The Empire Strikes Collection Denis Roger Collection Collection Denis Roger Collection

Lord Curzon Sir Franciss Youunghghusbband Collection Denis Roger Collection

Lord Curzon dreamt of expanding the influence Two illustrations of the British of the to the Roof of the World. campaign in Tibet in 1904. These drawings are often not historically accurate; the intention is to recreate an atmosphere.

For the first time, a large number of foreigners could inform the world about the mysterious land

Lord Curzon, India’s Viceroy was a man in hurry. He wanted to open British officers negotiating with the ‘lamas’ new markets in Tibet and check Russian advances in Asia. He had told London that the Chinese suzerainty over Tibet was a ‘constitutional fiction’ and he was As the Younghusband expedition approached ready to prove it. Lhasa, Thupten Gyatso, the Thirteenth Dalai In January 1904, Capt. Francis Lama decided to flee to Mongolia. Later, Younghusband led 5,000 Sikh and historian Shakabpa wrote: “It is quite clear that Gurkha soldiers into the Roof of the the British were dealing with Tibet as a separate world. For a few days, the Tibetan and independent state, particularly since the 1904 Army tried to stop them, but the convention makes no reference to China or to battle of Guru soon ended with 700 Chinese authority in Tibet.” Tibetans dead. The road to

and Lhasa was open. Denis Roger Collection Collection Denis Roger Collection Collection Denis Roger Collection

Jetsumdamba Hutuktu, the ruler of Mongolia

The route of the Younghusband Expedition

The in Mongolia Illusstratationon shs owiing theth Britiit shs troopsop entering Lhasas (July 1901 4) From Exile to Independence The Trials of a Dalai Lama Courtesy LTWA

In 1908, the Dalai Lama proceeded to China. In Beijing, he had an audience

The Dalai Lama with Emperor Guangxu and the in Beijing Dowager Empress. When both passed away at the end of the year, the Tibetan ruler performed their funeral rights. A few months later, he decided to return to Tibet. The Dalai Lama arrives Emperor in Beijing railway station Guangxu Collection Denis Roger Collection Shortly after his arrival, the news spread that Chao Erfeng, Governor of Province was at the gate of Lhasa. The Dalai Lama had no choice but to flee again; this time, he headed towards India. Visit to the Viceroy In February 1910, the Dalai Lama’s party Lord Minto in Calcutta

crossed the Indian border and took Museum Rivers © Pitt residence in Darjeeling. A month later, Illustration showing the the Dalai Lama went to Calcutta to meet Dalai Lama in Calcutta Lord Minto, the Viceroy.

The Dalai Lama in Kalimpong (1910)

For the Tibetan leader, his unwanted journeys were occasions to get acquainted with the ‘world outside’ and get a crash course in foreign relations. He returned to Tibet in 1912 and in January 1913, he issued a public statement declaring his nation independent.

A proclamation of the Dalai Lama

In 1913, the Dalai Lama signed a Treaty of Friendship with the Jetsundamba of Mongolia

After the return of the Dalai Lama, the Chinese troops leave Tibet (1912) The Clouds are Gathering The Warning of a Progressive Leader m © Pitt River Museu

Thee trt oops of Britishsh India trainedd the Tibetan Army

The Dalai Lama, his Cabinet and Sir Charles Bell A letter from the Dalai Lama congratulating Charles Bell His friendship with the British diplomat helped Tibet to come out of its isolation

Sir Charles Bell

Thubten Gyatso, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was in many ways a remarkable leader. He sent young Tibetans to England to be educated; he wanted Tibet to join the League of Nations; he started building a modern army; he reformed the monastic discipline. Unfortunately, he had to deal with conservative forces obstructing his reforms and wanting to keep Tibet isolated. Portrait of the 13th Dalai Lama

In his Testament, he prophesized: “Teachings shall be wiped out completely. Monasteries shall be looted, property confiscated and all living beings shall be destroyed. The property of the officials shall be confiscated; they

The Dalai Lama’s Last Testament shall be slaves of the conquerors and shall roam the land in bondage. All souls shall be immersed in suffering and the night shall be long and dark.”

The Dalai Lama understood the importance of a Tibetan Army


The Dalai Lama introduced the first car on the Roof of the World Signs of an Independent Nation Isolated but Free Courtesy LTWA Collection Jean Lassasle Collection

The National Geographic magazine Lhasa postmark

Collection Jean Lassasle Collection showing the Tibetan flag (1933)

Tibetan notes In international law, a State is suzerain if the treaties concluded by this State are ipso facto concluded for the vassal and if a war of a suzerain is ipso facto a war of the vassal. This was not the case of China vis-a-vis Tibet. Collection Jean Lassasle Collection Moreover, a suzerain State must have a defined territory and population, a government possessing

Tibetan coins authority over this territory and the capacity to enter into relations with other recognized States. Tibet had all these attributes and many more, such as its own postal stamps, currency, decorations, flag, etc. The Tibetan passport was accepted by several countries until 1950. Courtesy LTWA

Collection Jean Lassasle Collection Tibetan stamps

Tibet could enter into treaty relation with foreign countrries

Tibetan seal Courtesy Friends of Tibet of Courtesy Friends

Tibetan National Flag Collection Jean Lassasle Collection

Tibetan decorations Tibetan passport of Tsipon Shakabpa Tibet becomes a Chinese Colony The Roof of the World invaded Courtesy Tibet Museum TibetCourtesy Collection Denis Roger Collection

Crossing the Yangze

On October 7, 1950, 40,000 Chinese troops entered Tibet and advanced towards Chamdo, the capital of Kham province. Outnumbered, the Tibetan Army was unable to offer serious resistance to Mao’s soldiers. Tibet’s independence was lost.

The Chinese troops parading in Lhasa (September 1951)

Signature of the 17-Point Agreement

General Zhang Jingwu commanding In May 1951, a 17-Point Agreement the Chinese forces was forced on Tibetan delegates in Beijing. Tibetan seals were forged for the purpose. Article 1 of the Agreement stated: “The shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from

Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return Seals on to the big family of the Motherland — the Agreement the People's Republic of China.”

Tibetan girls marching in Lhasa after the so-called ‘liberation’

Chinese officials inspecting the ‘Liberation’ Army (1951)

Tibetans engaged in road construction